Sharif and Karen Khan. Karen co-authored the Sheriff of Squash with Rob Dinerman.
By MARY BETH DENOMY
How does a younger squash prodigy rising up close to the Afghanistan border within the Nineteen Fifties turn into one of many world’s biggest gamers and an honourary lifetime member of the Balmy Seaside Membership?
The Sheriff of Squash is a brand new e-book concerning the lifetime of legendary squash champion, Sharif Khan – his journey from a small village in Pakistan to the highest of his sport to the Seaside in Toronto.
From 1968 to 1982, Khan received virtually each main North American hardball squash event in the USA, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America.
He reached the semifinals of the British Open worldwide event – the “Wimbledon” of squash – and was ranked as excessive as quantity 4 on the earth. However there’s extra to the person than squash accolades.
The Khan household was a squash dynasty. Sharif’s Uncle Azam Khan, cousin Mohibullah Khan and later his youthful brother Aziz, had been all squash stars in their very own proper.
Sharif’s father, Hashim Khan, is a world sports activities hero. He mastered the sport of squash whereas working on the British Air Pressure officers membership within the Thirties and ‘40s in Peshawar, Pakistan. Within the Nineteen Fifties, Hashim received the British Open seven instances and toured Europe and Australia representing his nation.
Sharif adopted in his father’s footsteps as a squash nice, however that fame got here with its benefits and drawbacks.
Sharif was born in 1945 to Hashim and Meheria Khan in a small village in Pakistan, not removed from the Afghanistan border. At age 11 and already a promising squash participant, Sharif was given a scholarship to review at Millfield Faculty in England, a prestigious prep college 1000’s of miles from house.
When advised concerning the alternative, Sharif responded: “What’s England?”
Sharif overcame loneliness, little data of English and bland meals to turn into a strong scholar and a standout squash participant at Millfield.
In highschool, Sharif was the winner of the Drysdale Cup (precursor to the World Junior Championship) and the native county Males’s “A” title. At age 13 he defeated a 30-year-old opponent to win the county championship, incomes a celebratory time off for his classmates which made him very fashionable!
Dashing his plans to go to school or to additional his squash profession, Sharif was advised to come back house to Pakistan after commencement.
He was devastated to be taught his dad and mom had made preparations for him to marry his cousin. He went by means of with the normal ceremony however was sad.
In 1967, he moved together with his spouse from Pakistan to Detroit, Michigan, a tricky city the place his father was the squash professional on the Uptown Athletic Membership frequented by Common Motors executives.
Sharif divorced and moved to Canada within the late Sixties for a squash professional place at a membership close to the Toronto airport, a lot to the frustration of his father.
“Canada meant freedom,” recalled Sharif.
In 1969, Sharif defeated his cousin Mohibullah Khan within the North American Open, probably the most prestigious event after the British Open. One 12 months later he needed to defend his title – in opposition to his father. In Sharif’s phrases: “It actually isn’t describable what my coronary heart and soul went by means of in that match.”
Sharif was victorious and on the finish, father and son embraced in a second he described as “electrifying, humbling and childlike…forgiveness gave the impression to be eclipsed by his act of acceptance.”
Sharif went on to journey the world, reaching the heights of his sport and setting squash data which have but to be damaged right now.
He was the dominant participant all through the Nineteen Seventies.
An indication of his supremacy, Sharif was invited to play in an uncommon sequence of occasions within the Nineteen Seventies referred to as, “King of the Racquets Invitational” placed on by CBS Sports activities. Leaders in quite a lot of sports activities (squash, tennis, racquetball, desk tennis & badminton) performed in opposition to one another in each sport however their very own. In 1977, Sharif received the occasion by defeating Bjorn Borg in desk tennis within the defining match of the event, serving to to place squash on the map.
Canada would proceed to be Sharif’s house. He constantly labored as an expert and even opened a membership bearing his identify within the Toronto space.
Within the Nineteen Nineties he spent a number of years on the Mayfair Membership on Lakeshore Boulevard East in Toronto, enthusiastically giving classes and performing as a goodwill ambassador for the game.
He subsequently moved to Collingwood for a possibility to put money into a enterprise. However life all the time led again to Toronto.
The Sheriff of Squash was co-authored by sports activities author Rob Dinerman and Sharif’s spouse Karen Khan, whom he met at a celebration in 1992. On their second date they met on the Balmy Seaside Membership in east Toronto the place Sharif was giving a lesson. Karen and Sharif married in 1996.
And, after settling fulltime again in Toronto in 2008, the Balmy Seaside ultimately turned “his membership”. Sharif’s days had been stuffed with tournaments, leagues, and classes in addition to the enlargement of the junior program. In recognition of his contributions to the Balmy Seaside Membership, The Sharif Khan Award is given yearly to the junior squash champion. He’s additionally an honourary lifetime member.
In February 2014, Sharif had a large stroke. He has spent the final years present process intensive remedy.
“Life throws curves, and my sickness has been a giant one,” wrote Sharif. “My dream, and actually I dream this, is that I will likely be again on court docket sooner or later and really feel the burden of the ball in opposition to my racquet.”
Sharif’s father Hashim died in August 2014 at age 100.
The Sheriff of Squash is offered on Amazon. For extra data go to www.sharifkhan.net
– Mary Beth Denomy is the Neighborhood Director on the Balmy Seaside Membership.